It sounds like Michael Crabtree realizes that he has a lot of work to do, and he has to work his way to showing his teammates that he can be a team leader:
For a 22-year-old experiencing his first NFL training camp, Michael Crabtree sure is comfortable with his place in the San Francisco 49ers’ pantheon. Having dispensed with the contentious contract dispute that cost him a third of his rookie campaign like Jay-Z flicking a speck of dirt off his shoulder, Crabtree has his sights set on becoming the best wideout in his profession.
“This is the year I’m aiming for everybody that’s in front of me,” he said Monday after a charged Niners practice at the team’s training facility. “I’m working hard every day, just trying to make my team and myself better and to get to the top of the list.” Crabtree is already held in high esteem by his teammates and 49ers coach Mike Singletary, a somewhat shocking development given the drama that preceded his belated 2009 debut.
Now, as the presumptive No. 1 wideout on a potential breakthrough team – the Niners have emerged as a trendy pick to win the NFC West and return to the playoffs for the first time in eight years – Crabtree is experiencing the summer of love that eluded him as a rookie. “I still don’t think the league fully understands what he did last year and how incredible that was,” Singletary said Monday. “And the exciting thing is, he’s going to continue to progress.”